SR-22s and insurance are not the same thing. An SR-22 is a form that proves that you have insurance; it is not an insurance policy and does not provide any kind of coverage. SR-22s are often required after a severe traffic violation. Some states use different form names, but the forms all have one thing in common: they are designed to prove that you are adequately insured. Needing an SR-22 or a similar form may impact your insurance. However, it’s not the form itself that raises your insurance price. The driving incident that means you need the form is often what increases your car insurance premium.
What is “SR-22 insurance?”
SR-22s are often required after a severe traffic violation, like a DUI or a reckless driving conviction. Your car insurance company files the form directly with Montana’s Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) to confirm that your policy has at least the state minimum limits of coverage.
In Montana, drivers are required to have at least a 25/50/20 policy. This means that your policy needs to have at least the following coverage types and limits:
- $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $20,000 property damage liability per accident
To get an SR-22 filing, you will need to contact your insurance company and ask for the form to be sent to the MVD. There is likely to be a filing fee, but it is usually under $50. However, the cost of your car insurance may increase dramatically due to the driving violation that prompted the need for the SR-22. Keep in mind that not all insurance carriers will file SR-22s; even some of the best car insurance companies aren’t willing to insure high-risk drivers. If you need to find cheaper Montana car insurance, or if your current carrier won’t file the form for you, you can shop around and may need to switch providers.
Montana SR-22 alternatives
Car insurance rates vary by state, as do insurance requirements and verification forms. Not every state uses SR-22s, but most have something very similar. Understanding the different form types and how they work could help prepare you if you ever need one of these filing in the future.
Here’s how the forms compare:
|Form||States issued||Required insurance minimums|
|SR-22||Most states (excluding Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania)||State minimum|
|SR-19||California, Texas||Uninsured motorist coverage|
|SR-21||Florida, Hawaii||State minimum|
|SR-22A||Georgia, Texas, Missouri||State minimum or more, pre-paid|
|FR-44||Florida, Virginia||Higher than state minimum (up to double)|
- SR-19: These forms are used in California and Texas when drivers are in accidents with uninsured motorists.
- SR-21: An SR-21 proves that a driver had coverage at the time of an accident or ticket.
- SR-22A: An SR-22A is very similar to an SR-22 in that it proves a driver is properly insured. However, this form requires the driver to prepay for at least six month’s worth of car insurance at a time.
- FR-44: Issued in both Virginia and Florida, an FR-44 verifies that a driver is properly insured and requires that they carry higher-than-state-minimum liability limits
- FR-19: FR-19s are used exclusively in Maryland and verify coverage for 30 days.
- SR-50: Indiana uses SR-50 forms to confirm a driver had insurance coverage on a date in the past.
If you do not own a car but have been ordered to file an SR-22, then a non-owner car insurance policy could be your only option. This policy gives you coverage, as a driver, but does not insure a vehicle. Having a non-owner policy will mean that an insurance company can file the SR-22 form for you, but make sure that the company you’re purchasing coverage from is willing to file the form.
SR-22 Montana insurance costs
SR-22s themselves aren’t generally very expensive; there’s usually just a filing fee below $50 that you’ll pay at each policy renewal, to keep the form active.
The true cost of an SR-22 in Montana revolves around the reason that you need the filing. Driving incidents, especially the major incidents that lead to SR-22 filings, will likely increase your car insurance premium dramatically. For example, a DUI in Montana raises insurance costs by an average amount of 68% per year. It’s not usually the SR-22 itself that raises your premium, but rather the driving history behind it. If you can’t afford your premium after an SR-22 filing is put on your policy, you might want to shop around to find the cheapest car insurance company for your situation.
Frequently asked questions
How long do I need an SR-22 in Montana?
Once you have been ordered to have an SR-22, you’ll likely have to keep it on file for three years. You’ll have to maintain active and continuous car insurance throughout the time you’re required to have the form. If you let your policy lapse or if you cancel it, your car insurance company will likely notify the MVD and your license could be suspended or revoked.
How do I get SR-22 insurance in Montana?
You will need to contact your insurance company and ask that the SR-22 be sent directly to the Montana MVD. If you do not have insurance, you will need to get a policy first, and you’ll want to make sure that the new company is willing to send an SR-22 on your behalf. Not all Montana car insurance companies are willing to insure high-risk drivers.
How much does SR-22 insurance cost in Montana?
An SR-22 is not a type of insurance, so the costs associated with it revolve more around the driving history that necessitated the form. The filing fee is usually below $50. The increase in your premium after your driving incident will revolve around the severity of the violation.
What happens if my insurance company cancels my policy?
You should receive notice of termination in the mail and will likely have several weeks or longer to find a new provider. You’ll have to find a new car insurance company that will file the SR-22 form for you. If you don’t get new car insurance or have a lapse in coverage, your license will likely be suspended.